Sunday 26 October 2014

The Procrastinator (some) Times Sunday 26th of October Edition


Hello dear procrastinators, I hope you're doing great!

In the news this week we have an article about the researchers in Canada, Britain, the US and Mali testing drugs in the hope to find a vaccine to stop Ebola; a couple of articles about Russell Brand whose name started buzzing again in the news as he is promoting his new book: Revolution. Among other stuff, Brand talks about feeling misrepresented by the current system, governments and institutions, and that's exactly how I felt when I found out that Venezuela, one of the most dangerous places in the world, with a capital where a person is killed every 20 minutes was given a place in the Security Council of the United Nations, that's our third news. Congratulations planet, you're doing a great job.

In our Science & Technology section we share a Vice article where Thijs Roes gets in touch with Professor Brian Cox to talk about the meaning of life, and almost as amazing, a new caterpillar species is named after the Cat-bus of Studio Ghibli's My Neighbor Totoro. In Design, Business & Innovation, the ad industry finally makes peace with crowdsourcing, and brands should look into ways of connecting with us in more creative ways. In Culture & Entertainment, Isaac Asimov on creativity via the MIT Technology Review; great photobooks that great photographers would save from a fire via The Guardian; and the opening of the Musée Picasso in Paris. Have you met a pessimist dog? Read about it In Dog We Trust and meet the lovely Leroy Milo Brown. Finally in Our Weekly Procrastination we spent a wonderful time watching Emiland Guillerme's short documentaries about Thomas Sauvin's project Beijing Silvermine "a unique (crowdsourced-ish) photographic portrait of the capital and the life of its inhabitants following the Cultural Revolution".

As autumn this side of the planet started to get serious, I guess that indoors procrastination is the way to go. Let us know how are you spending your procrastination time. Exhibitions, lectures, restaurants, pubs? Anything goes, as long as it meaningful, and it's even better if you share it with all of us! Get involved!

If you haven't done so, here we are on Twitter. Come on, let's be friends!

Happy reading and happy Sunday! x


Children play in Monrovia, Liberia. The World Health Organisation says that more than 4,500 people have died due to the Ebola epidemic in west Africa. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images. Via The Guardian.

Mark Honigsbaum, Wellcome Trust Research Fellow at Queen Mary University of London describes in The Guardian the efforts researchers are making to stop the humanitarian disaster unfolding in west Africa – and prevent Ebola becoming as prolific as HIV. "In 1959 the French microbiologist René Dubos gazed into his crystal ball and found reasons to be concerned. In his lifetime Dubos had witnessed the steady decline of diseases such as diphtheria, tuberculosis and polio, but rather than giving him confidence these medical successes filled him with foreboding. Though vaccines and therapeutic drugs had neutralised many of the threats of the past, he warned that humans could not escape the microbes that transmitted infectious diseases, because they were part of the environment and our ecology. Complete freedom from infectious disease was a mirage, he warned. “At some unpredictable time and in some unforeseeable manner nature will strike back.” Read full article in The Guardian. E.T.P. 9'

Photo via The Independent.

This week Russell Brand started sounding again in the media. Vice had a quick schizophrenic chat with Russell Brand. He talked about how his revolution looks like and how we don't have a story that bind us together other than celebrity and consumerism culture, mythologies that really don't help us to connect to one another. Russell's idea of revolution implies working less hours, spending more time with the people you love and being part of a cultural narrative attached to ecology and to the planet as a whole... which doesn't sound bad at all, of course, I'm curious though, on how we actually join that revolution, I guess we will have to buy his book to find out, because as Charlet Duboc, Vice's presenter accurately pointed out the book is not being distributed for free in the streets. Have a look a the whole interview in Vice (includes explicit references of elephant wanking). E.T.P. 11'

The Independent also featured another interview about the release of his book, this time with Evan Davis, the new anchor of Newsnight. "As well as shouting about his utopian stance on social reform, he also admitted he remained perceptive to the validity of 9/11 conspiracy theories.
"We have to remain open-minded to kind of possibility," he said, asked by Davis whether he believed the terror attacks on the Twin Towers had been orchestrated by the American government." Read full article and have a look at the interview in The Independent. E.T.P. 17'

Finally, because of the Newsnight interview, people started trolling Russell Brand by tweeting graphs at him. Here's a quick article in The i100. E.T.P. 2'

Photo via The Guardian.

So, María Gabriela Chávez is Venezuela’s new deputy ambassador at the UN mission. Her only credential is, of course, being Hugo Chavez's daughter. "Despite the Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro’s close ties with Syria’s Bashar Assad and Iran and his support for Russia over the Ukraine crisis, the US chose not to publicly oppose Venezuela’s candidacy this year.
Rights observers expressed concern over some of the newly elected council members. Philippe Bolopion, the UN director of Human Rights Watch, said: “The security council’s new membership could prove more problematic on human rights issues, with several generally rights-friendly countries leaving and others coming on board with poor voting records. “This is particularly true of Venezuela, which has consistently challenged protection efforts at the [UN] Human Rights Council, but also of Angola and Malaysia, which need to demonstrate a more human rights-oriented approach in New York than they did in Geneva.” " Read full article in The Guardian. E.T.P. 2'


Photo Nicky Bay via Wired.
Photo via Planet Minecraft.

This news is absolutely (almost literally) fantastic: "Velvet worms are adorable caterpillar-y looking things, silently plodding along on stumpy legs in tropical forests around the world. A recently discovered species was so cute, it got a name straight out of Studio Ghibli: Eoperipatus totoros. The species name is an homage to the CatBus in the film My Neighbor Totoro." Read full article in Wired. E.T.P. 3'

Photo via Vice.

Vice's Thijs Roes got in touch with Professor Brian Cox to have an interesting chat about the one thing we all want to have a chat about with Cox: the meaning of life. "Human civilisation has caught up with a good chunk of science fiction. We drive around in electric cars, send spaceships beyond our solar system and use silicon and electricity to help us get laid. Things that seemed like some distant fantasy less than 20 years ago (like, say, reading this article on your phone like some kind of wizard) are now accepted – and often overlooked – parts of our everyday reality.
Professor Brian Cox – who you’ll probably recognise from the past decade of British popular culture – is one of a few doing a good job of pointing all this out to us. For instance, his new BBC series, Human Universe, sets out to make us understand our place in the universe – why we’re here, what we’ve achieved and how we can use those achievements to better ourselves." Read full interview in Vice. E.T.P. (with videos): 9'


Photo via Mashable.

T.L. Stanley describes in Mashable how the ad industry has finally made peace with crowdsourcing and how mass collaboration continues to blossom nowadays as consumers prefer authentic, quirky or unvarnished brand messages. "James DeJulio, co-founder and chief executive of Santa Monica-based ad tech firm Tongal, says crowdsourced advertising is the Uber of the marketing world. There’s tremendous demand for a service – in this case, original content with a fresh voice for digital, social media and other platforms. And lucky for brand marketers, he says, there’s a passionate and motivated labor pool ready to step up for quick turnaround, low-cost projects." Read full article in Mashable. E.T.P. 7'

Photo via PSFK.

Super interesting article by Sophie Maxwell, Pearlfisher's Futures Director in PSFK: "It is increasingly hard to switch off from a world that is always on. Our new and infinitely connected world has enabled us to exercise endless choice. And keen to optimize every aspect of our lifestyle, we have bought into the fact that the digital and the physical need to work in synergy. But now, there is a growing realization that we are struggling to find the head space for it all. As a result, we are seeking to restore some sort of balance – in terms of how we connect with each other and with our surroundings – by taking shelter, slowing down and switching off.
It may seem counter-intuitive but we are looking to brands to guide us. We want brands to help us schedule time for contemplation, create new space for significant moments and connect with us in more creatively controlled ways." Read full article in PSFK. E.T.P. 3'


Illustration via MIT Technology Review.

Back in 1959 Asimov participated in a series of work sessions with a group of scientists, contractors and military working on approaching the American ballistic defense system in an innovative way. Regardless of the money spent in research, the people involved in the project didn't manage to actually think 'outside of the box', that's where Asimov -invited by Arthur Obermayer- started collaborating with them. After a few meetings though, he decided to leave because he didn't want to know any classified information that would limit his freedom of expression. However, before leaving he wrote this essay that is publish in the MIT Technology Review. Have a look. E.T.P. 6'

Photo: New York, by William Klein. Courtesy HackelBury Fine Art via The Guardian.

Sean O'Hagan interviewed some of the world's greatest photographers like Nan Goldin, Juergen Teller and Martin Parr to find out which photobook would they grab in a fire. Great names came out: Nobuyoshi Araki, William Klein, Ryan McGinley and Boris Mikhailov. Find out who rescues who in The Guardian. E.T.P. 4'

Photo via The Economist.

"The Musée Picasso enjoys virtually sacred status in France. It symbolises the union of Pablo Picasso, the most prolific artist of the 20th century, and Paris, the city he loved and lived in. The 5,000 works in its collection have peerless provenance; they belonged to Picasso himself, and were given to the French state by his heirs in lieu of inheritance tax. The museum reopens its doors on October 25th after a five-year renovation of its stately home, a 17th-century hôtel particulier in the city’s fashionable Marais district." This goes straight to the To Do List! Read full article in The Economist. E.T.P. 3'


Photo: Amazingly cute Leroy via his Instagram.

Hello dog lover! Hope you are having a fantastic weekend.

Here are some links for you:

Video of the week: Corgi puppy and the scary spoon

Enjoy your Sunday! And follow Leroy Milo Brown on Instagram


In Dog We Trust is edited by Carola Melguizo of La Guía del Perro.


Screenshots of Beijing Silvermine via Emiland Guillerme's Vimeo.

This week we came across Emiland Guillerme's Beijing Silvermine, a wonderful documentary about Thomas Sauvin and the work he performed in China, rescuing, scanning and classifying hundreds of thousands of photo negatives, to portrait the radical changes the country suffered during two very peculiar decades (from 1985 to 2005). The results of his experiment are not only visually beautiful, but very rich in an anthropological way as there are some really interesting insights about composition, favorite holiday places, clichés, fashion, family life, etc. and it is also a great approach to crowdsourcing. 

In Guillerme's vimeo you can read this description "Beijing Silvermine is a unique photographic portrait of the capital and the life of its inhabitants following the Cultural Revolution. It covers a period of 20 years, from 1985, namely when silver film started being used massively in China, to 2005, when digital photography started taking over. These 20 years are those of China's economic opening, when people started prospering, traveling, consuming, having fun."

Absolutely meaningful procrastination, in Emiland's Vimeo you have a look at Beijing Silvermine- Thomas Sauvin Part I (E.T.P. 12') and Part II (E.T.P. 5'20'') and to Silvermine (E.T.P. 15')

Sunday 12 October 2014

The Procrastinator (Some) Times Sunday 12th October Edition


Dear procrastinators, this is a very procrastinated edition as this week it's been roller-coastery crazy, but here we are, ready to share this week's meaningful articles worth reading. In the News section we decided to focus in the glass-half full that should fill us all with happiness and pride: the 17-years old Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize. In my super humble opinion, at least 90% of the problems in this planet (if not all) can be solved by giving people access to education, and this is why this well-deserved Nobel prize is so important. The fuzz that is causing is an excellent way of encouraging everyone to support Malala's cause by making it our fight too. Well done Malala!

The rest of this edition goes like this: the Science section shares an article in Wired about how Antarctica has lost enough ice to cause a measurable shift in gravity. Design, Business & Innovation showcases (via It's Nice That) the amazing design made by Oslo-based Snøhetta for the new Norway’s Norges Bank notes that will make their way into circulation in 2017. In our Culture & Entertainment section, we have Hadley Freeman The Guardian's piece in which she makes an honest/tough critic of Lena Duhnam's new book: Not That Kind of Girl. In Dog We Trust, shares the sad story of Excalibur and explores if animal cruelty is now a mainstream concern. Finally, for Our Weekly Procrastination we went down to the BFI for the Power to the Pixel cross-media forum,  listened to great inspiring presentations and met cool interesting people. Today we're sharing some of the most interesting highlights from day 1, have a look!

Happy Sunday afternoon (!) and happy reading x


Malala Yousafzai, photo via The Guardian.

"Pakistani child education activist Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian child rights campaigner, have jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize. At the age of just 17, Malala is the youngest ever recipient of the prize. The teenager was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in October 2012 for campaigning for girls' education. She now lives in Birmingham in the UK. Giving her reaction in a speech, Malala said she was "honoured" to receive the award, saying it made her feel 'more powerful and courageous' ". Watch her speech in BBC. E.T.P. 11' Also, the joint Nobel Peace Prize winner, pays tribute to Malala. Watch the video also in BBC. E.T.P. 1'

"Take that, Islamic extremists, anti-Muslim bigots, Pashtun-bashers and misogynists! Malala Yousufzai has become the youngest person to win any Nobel prize and, fittingly, did not appear before the media to respond for several hours because it was a school day, and the girl’s got priorities." Read full article in The Guardian. E.T.P. 3'

Finally you can see the interview of Malala in The Daily Show with Jon Stewart back in October 2013, in The Independent's i100. E.T.P. 17'

Estimated Time of Procrastination of the entire News section: 32'.


Image via WIRED.

Antarctica Has Lost Enough Ice to Cause a Measurable Shift in Gravity. "Gravity—yes, gravity—is the latest victim of climate change in Antarctica. That’s the stunning conclusion announced Friday by the European Space Agency. 'The loss of ice from West Antarctica between 2009 and 2012 caused a dip in the gravity field over the region,' writes the ESA, whose GOCE satellite measured the change. Apparently, melting billions of tons of ice year after year has implications that would make even Isaac Newton blanch." Read full article in Wired. E.T.P. 4'


Illustration: Snøhetta: Beauty of Boundaries (detail) via It's Nice That.

Rebecca Fulleylove writes in It's Nice That: "Norway’s Norges Bank have just announced new designs that will make their way into circulation in 2017 and boy are they beautiful. Two designers have been selected for each side of the notes with The Metric System’s design providing a starting point for the front and Oslo-based Snøhetta for the reverse.
It’s the reverse designs that have got us really excited, not just because they look fab but because of the concept behind them. Titled Beauty of Boundaries, Snøhetta’s notes use images from Norway’s costal landscape and translates them into pixellated, colour-blocked snapshots." Read full articles and watch the rest of the notes in It's Nice That. E.T.P. 3'


Photo via The Guardian.

Hadley Freeman in The Guardian writes a very well argued, honest and tough critic of Lena Duhnam's new book: Not That Kind of Girl. Here's a fragment: "Dunham has now made what are essentially three versions of her autobiography by the age of 28: a film, three seasons of a TV show and a book, and the gruel is running thin. The anecdotes in the book often feel like rejected ideas for Girls episodes, which, in fact, at least one of them was. Dunham describes her need to share as a compulsion: "I have to tell my stories in order to stay sane," she writes. But she also needs an editor (or an Adam) who can say to her, "Great, but perhaps we don't actually need to publish a 10‑page chapter consisting purely of your food diary?" She is a brilliant talent who will write better books than this – and, really, who can blame her for taking the money (reportedly £2.3m) and running? It's a shame, though, that her US publishers didn't take more time with her instead of rushing to cash in on the Lena Dunham industry. But then Dunham is probably used to that by now." Read full article in The Guardian. E.T.P. 5'


Photo: Connie the Corgie, via his Instagram.
Hello dog lover! Hope you're having a beautiful day!

 Here are some links you might like:

Video of the week: Golden loves guitar

Enjoy your Sunday! And follow Connie on Instagram


In Dog We Trust is edited by: Carola Melguizo from La Guía del Perro.   


Estimated Time of Procrastination (E.T.P.): 5' (without hyperlinking).

Our Weekly Procrastination this past week was absolutely meaningful as, thanks to our fellow procrastinator Marie, we went to the 8th Power to the Pixel: The Cross Media Forum. Power to the Pixel, as defined by themselves, is a company helping international filmmakers and the film industry make the transition to a cross-media digital age, and for what I witnessed in the forum, they are good at it!

The two days of the event that were open to the public, the Conference on the 7th and the Pixel Market on the 8th, were held at the BFI in the Southbank starting as early as 9am and until 5pm when the drinking/networking session started. The first day, the lovely view of a crispy sunny London was the preamble of a really inspiring day where lecturers like John S. Johnson, co-founder of Buzzfeed and the Harmony Institute for Advance Media Research, shared his vision of "a dystopian view on media measurement."

Photo. John S. Johnson, Descartes and Mary Shelley @ Power To The Pixel.

Johnson, encouraged us as media professionals to overcome the Enlightenment vs Romantic duality and to mix the strengths of the data-freaks with the emotion and the intuition of the artists, as real empathy can only be built when quantitative data meets great storytelling. "Embrace data and optimization" he said- "the train is leaving the station and you need to be on it, for all our sakes."

Photo. Lance Weiler @ Power To The Pixel.

Lance Weiler, co-founder of Connected Sparks and Reboot Stories, had me at "Story Driven Innovation", a notion/vision/practice very powerful and a very necessary in a world where as he said "those formerly know as 'the audience' are storytellers too." That was probably the reason why he started his intervention with a listening exercise (the 5x why?), something that we really are not very used to do anymore. Lance also mentioned some of the projects he is developing alongside the Digital Storytelling Lab at Columbia University like Sherlock Holmes and the Internet of Things. Again, the need of working at the intersection of arts, humanities and technology to create meaningful stories or objects or experiences in the 21st century became evident.

Photo: Alexa Clay @ Power to the Pixel 2014.

Alexa Clay, co-author of The Misfit Economy, blew my mind, not only because of her vision of misfits as innovators, a bridging species between the old and the new economy, that fight against institutional inertia, but for her capacity of having apparently endless cool side projects. Going beyond of the moral issues that divide the world into good and evil, in The Misfit Economy she documented the practices that were used by hackers, copycats or pirates to innovate. If we can see drug-smugglers as rapid prototypers, con-artists as outstanding storytellers and pitchers, and anonymous as a modern hierarchy with a decentralized leadership, we will be able to learn from the fringe and to find innovation in the fringe, and that my friends, that is really innovative.

Five practices comprise the main misfits' skill-set: copy, hack, hustle, provoke and pivot. These five calls to action made me remember Kenneth Goldsmith championing re-contextualization, copy-pasting, ready-made-ing, plagiarism and the even more delightful self-plagiarism in his book Uncreative Writing, a particular invitation to reflect on the act of writing in and for the digital era.

You can have a look at the trailer for the upcoming The Misfit Economy film here, and another look at Alexa's side projects: Wisdom Hackers, the League of Intrapreneurs, and her analogue nomad alter-ego Amish Futurist.

There were more great speakers like The Project Factory's Jennifer Wilson (best 'feedbacker' ever), Immersive Journalist Nonny de la Peña, and Rovio's Mikko Polla. Also very interesting cross-media projects like Fort McMoney, Netwars and the Seven Digital Sins, but I'll tell you all about those in the next edition. Stay tunned! (: